by Sara Rice

Do you know one of the best habits to create upon waking to feel energized throughout the day, focused, and clear your head? 

No… it’s not slugging to the kitchen to make yourself a pot of coffee. 

No… it’s not snoozing your alarm clock for 5 more minutes of sleep.. 

As the name of the article might suggest, it’s taking a walk in the sunshine! Taking a walk first thing in the morning outside, in the sun is one of the best ways to naturally wake up your body. Putting yourself first by taking a walk will signal to your body it is time to start the day, give your body some much needed vitamin D, and give you a chance to clear your head before the stresses of the day. A quick 10 – 15 minute walk is all that is needed to feel the benefits. 

Starting off by taking a walk before making coffee or immediately sitting down for work will give you time to think and plan for the upcoming day, clear your head and help you stay alert all day long. This gives you a chance to plan for the day without any distractions of emails or the news to shift your attention to what are the priorities of the day. Walking increases blood flow to the brain helping you to stay focused during the morning and have a productive day! 

Vitamin D is an important vitamin for bone, muscles, and teeth health and immunity. Your body produces vitamin D naturally when exposed to sunlight. Starting your day off with a dose of sun will help your body produce vitamin D needed. It can oftentimes be difficult to get enough sunlight exposure, especially in the midwest during winter months. We can help counteract that by getting enough sunlight exposure during the summer months when there is more chance of sun! 

Low-intensity exercise helps fight feelings of fatigue, so not only is morning walk beneficial, an afternoon walk would help wake you up if you experience a mid-day slump. Taking a walk in the afternoon will also re-energize and refocus you for the remainder of the day. The combination of exercise while being outside is even more beneficial. So the next time you feel tired during the middle of the day, take a quick walk and see if you feel any better! 

Taking a walk in the morning will also reset your circadian rhythm(internal process that regulates sleep-wake cycle), exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning suppresses melatonin production so you feel awake. Starting your day off with a dose of sunlight will also ensure that melatonin is released at the right times as well. Exposure to sunlight can also increase production of serotonin, a mood-regulating hormone that helps produce feelings of happiness, calmness, and positivity.

Feeling sluggish? Hard to wake up? Go take a walk outside! 

Now that summer is starting there has never been a better time of the year to start this habit and start taking walks regularly in the morning. If all you can manage to do is 10 minutes, do that, the walk does not have to take too long in order to be effective!